Capital: Treinta y Tres
Population: 49.000 hab.
Area: 9.676 km2
Population Density: 5,2 inhab./km2
Treinta y Tres (city)
At the confluence of the Olimar and Yerbal rivers lies the peaceful town of Treinta y Tres. Like a typical countryside town in Uruguay, with low buildings and pavements with lush trees, the town is based around its main square and its monument of the 33 Orientals.
Very close to the town lie irresistible natural treasures for aficionados of ecotourism, such as the first national protected area of the country, the Quebrada de los Cuervos, a place which is emblematic for its geomorphology, exuberant flora and fauna and also for the stories and legends which are woven into the fabric of the place. Visitors to the department of Treinta y Tres will also discover the Merín Lagoon, one of the largest reserves of fresh water and one of the main ecological treasures in Uruguay. This body of water which borders Brazil covers an area of 4,500 square km and more than 120 km of coastline on the Uruguayan side. It has been a national nature reserve for several years and has been declared a global reserve of freshwater by the FAO.
Treinta y Tres is also an ideal place to discover the local traditions of the inhabitants of the Uruguayan countryside and the warmth of the simple life. The department shares a border to the north with the department of Cerro Largo, to the south with those of Lavalleja and Rocha, to the east with Brazil, through the Merín Lagoon and to the west with the departments of Florida and Durazno.
Hydrographically it has a large number of rivers, streams and lakes. The most important rivers are the Cebollatí River on the southern border of the department and the Olimar River which is the main tributary. The latter is so important for the water supply of the department that its inhabitants are called “olimareños”. While Treinta y Tres has traditionally been a department with a heavy focus on livestock farming, the production of rice has given a significant boost to the economy of the region, driving the pre-cooked products industry and the installation of rice mills. Long before the department existed, the lands in the region were inhabited by indigenous people as evident by the numerous native hills which have attracted the interest of anthropologists and archaeologists from around the world.
Quebrada de los Cuervos
The protected Quebrada de los Cuervos landscape can be found in the hills to the east in the department Treinta y Tres. It consists of rolling grassland hills and is associated with ranching. The latter hills surround a boxed or “broken” valley of outstanding scenic beauty. The quebrada (gorge) which gives its name to the area is a very narrow stretch of the Verbal Chico River which crosses the Sierra del Verbal (a hill), forming a deep gorge that is over 100 meters deep in some places.
It forms part of a group of gorges associated with the hills to the east which act as a break between the different hilly areas of southern Uruguay (department of Maldonado) and the subtropical forests of Río Grande do Sul in Brazil. As such the “Quebrada de los Cuervos” has lush vegetation including a wide variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, epiphytes and vines.
The protected Quebrada de los Cuervos landscape consists of different environments, including the gallery forest surrounding the gorge next to the river – which protects the soil – and has a deep sloped area. In addition, the natural grasslands, an environment which is sparsely represented on an international level, which occupy most of the national territory, is highly threatened and has species of flora and fauna which are priorities for the National System of Protected Areas.
Permitted activities and restrictions:
Among the services available in the gorge are: hiking, bird watching, environmental education activities, visitor center, park ranger service, camping and cabins. There are also some restrictions such as pets, hunting, fishing, campfires and collecting plants.
Santa Clara del Olimar
Arriving in Santa Clara de Olimar, located on route 7 to the west of the department, means arriving in an emblematic site in the consolidation of the Uruguayan Democracy, the epicenter of great episodes of our national history.
It was in those streets, houses and surroundings that the caudillo (leader) Aparicio Saravia began his revolutionary actions that led to the definite establishment of the bases of civil freedom in the Republic.
To a large extent, everything in Santa Clara alludes to this remarkable nationalist leader: his remains are buried in the local cemetery; the parish where he got married is in this village and the farmhouse “El Cordobés” , where he lived and gathered the “ragtag army” to start his revolts is nearby. Today this is a historical museum managed by the Municipality of Cerro Largo.
In addition, Santa Clara also boasts the house of national writer Juana de Ibarborou, goddaughter of the Nationalist General, who died in 1904. Juana wrote about him: “… when, as a soldier he fell in the tragic fields of Masoller, on a day without human limits, his myth of eternal dimensions, began to rise from his lying body”.
Source: Ministry of Tourism